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Archive for Sunday, September 17, 2006

Nobel laureates urge youths to address poverty

September 17, 2006

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— Ten Nobel Peace Prize winners issued an unprecedented "call to action" to young people, asking them to mobilize against racism and poverty and work to secure the rights of women and children.

"Action is very important," said the Dalai Lama, opening a Friday afternoon news conference where the Nobel laureates outlined their agenda.

"Prayer is not sufficient," he said as part of the three-day conference in Denver sponsored by PeaceJam, a Colorado organization that brings together Nobel Peace Prize winners and young people.

At the event, which drew 3,000 students from 31 countries, peace prize winners called for a decadelong effort to tackle 10 challenges facing the world and said they would work "side by side" with young people to make a difference.

"We say, go for your dreams and reach for the stars and help God make this a more compassionate, a more caring, a more gentle world," said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, of South Africa, in inspirational remarks.

Several of the peace prize winners used the occasion to voice disdain for the U.S. war on terror and related policies.

Still, politics wasn't the main subject of Friday's session, the largest gathering to date of Nobel Peace Prize winners in the United States. The goal was to inspire young people to hope and work for a better future.

"We all have to be part of the solutions to the problems of this planet or we will all sink together," said Jody Williams, the only American on the panel, and a peace prize winner for her efforts to ban land mines. "Volunteer once a month, one hour. Don't go to the mall. Seize your responsibility as a person."

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